Shell in the Valley

Company converting, building stations in Arizona market

Published in CSP Daily News

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- After two decades of hardly being seen in the Valley gasoline market in Arizona, the Shell brand is making a grand entrance by converting or building more than 100 stations here this year, reported the East Valley Tribune.

So far this year, 47 stations have already been converted, the report said, and there are plans to convert another 50 or so by the end of the year. The company also will build 15 new Shell stations, added the newspaper.

Shell Oil Products U.S., which ranks third in crude oil production in the United States, had [image-nocss] just 27 stations locally prior to a big push that began in January, said the report. Yet it still had a strong presence in the Valley thanks to the Texaco brand.

"We're switching 70 [Texaco] sites over to the Shell brand," Anne Peebles, Shell spokesperson, told the paper. "We are losing the rights to market the Texaco brand in the United States. That's flipping over to Chevron as part of the agreement that was signed with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in order for the Chevron-Texaco merger to go into play."

As part of the merger between Texaco and Chevron, the government required Texaco to divest itself of some assets. Shell bought Texaco's refining and marketing interests. Shell will lose the rights to the Texaco brand name on July 1, 2006, so it is rebranding sites that it acquired from Texaco so it can continue to provide gasoline to Valley drivers, the report said.

About 20 of the 70 Texaco conversions are at Circle K stores; 11 Mobil sites, including Superpumper stations in the East Valley, changed to Shell earlier this year, and 16 Chevron, Exxon and stations without a brand will switch to Shell, giving the company about 140 stores in the Valley at the end of 2005, said the report.

"It's clearly a strategic area for us and an area of growth," Peebles said.

The company left the Valley in the 1980s, but re-entered the market in 1996 by providing wholesale gasoline, the paper said.